Explore highlights
Limestone fragment with the head of a king


Height: 17.000 cm
Width: 12.700 cm

Gift of the Egypt Exploration Society

EA 63631

Ancient Egypt and Sudan

    Limestone fragment with the head of a king

    From Tell el-Amarna, Egypt
    18th Dynasty, around 1350 BC

    Trial piece in relief

    The artistic style of the Amarna Period (1390-1327 BC) is distinctive. Human figures are often set in very un-traditional poses; they have thin necks, prominent stomachs, and their jaws are elongated. The distinctive neck and face are well illustrated in this limestone fragment, which shows a king, possibly Akhenaten (Amenhotep IV, reigned about 1390-1352 BC), wearing a plaited wig. This type of head-dress appears only in the Amarna Period. The fragment is probably a sculptor's trial piece, many of which have been found at the site.

    Many reasons have been offered to explain the style of the Amarna Period, but none is entirely satisfactory. Perhaps the simplest explanation is that Akhenaten needed to make a clear distinction between the artistic output of his reign and that of previous periods.

    E.R. Russmann, Eternal Egypt: masterworks of (University of California Press, 2001)

    S. Quirke and A.J. Spencer, The British Museum book of anc (London, The British Museum Press, 1992)


    Browse or search over 4,000 highlights from the Museum collection

    Shop Online

    Discover Egyptian hieroglyphs, £7.99

    Discover Egyptian hieroglyphs, £7.99